Japan's major annual electronics show involving more than 300 companies opened Tuesday, with the spotlight on cutting-edge technologies designed to achieve carbon neutrality.
As was the case last year, organizers decided to hold the Combined Exhibition of Advanced Technologies online as a precaution against the coronavirus. The event through Friday, under the theme of "Toward Society 5.0 with the New Normal," is accessible by the public with pre-registration.
Rechargeable batteries to store renewable energy and carbon recycling technologies are among exhibited products that may help Japan and other countries reach the goal of net zero carbon emissions in the next several decades.
The concept of Society 5.0 to incorporate innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence and robots into society has been promoted by Japanese industries and the government.
"As an exhibition that creates new markets, we hope to propose solutions that will contribute to a society where values and people's behaviors are rapidly changing," Kiyoshi Shikano, executive producer of CEATEC, said Monday when the electronics show was available to the media.
Viewers are able to search on the CEATEC website for companies by name or topic, and visit the companies' pages. The firms have uploaded videos explaining their products and communicate with visitors via chat or email.
To symbolize the popularity of each page, an icon is attached to a company's banner listed on the CEATEC website when many visitors are viewing its corporate page.
Among the companies attracting many visitors is Toshiba Corp., which is exhibiting its film-like, light and flexible solar battery that can be set up on curved surfaces and windows, unlike existing silicon-based solar cells.
The new battery attained a power conversion efficiency comparable to mass-produced polysilicon solar panels in September and could help increase the use of renewable energy in urban areas, according to Toshiba, which is also showing technology capable of recycling carbon dioxide into aviation fuel.
NGK Insulators Ltd. is exhibiting its EnerCera micro rechargeable battery series. One of them comes as small as 459 square millimeters and 0.45 mm thin.
By using such a battery together with an energy-harvesting gadget that collects power from the surrounding environment, including vibrations and temperature differences, more devices can be connected with internet of things technology and powered by green energy, an NGK spokesman said.
Kyocera Corp. is displaying a buoy that can collect data on the marine environment to help researchers study pollution and temperature increases amid global warming.
The buoy, powered by tidal currents, was co-developed with Nagasaki University.
Capacitor maker Nichicon Corp. is featuring various products capable of sending power stored in electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles to homes while also supplying those types of vehicles with home-generated solar power.
"The cars charged with the system can run without using any fossil fuel and emit no carbon dioxide," Nichicon spokesman Fumio Yamashita said. "The system is also getting attention as a means to prepare for power shortages in the event of a natural disaster."
Other than the exhibits, many online conferences are scheduled during the four days, including discussions on carbon neutrality in the automobile sector.
The organizers had initially planned to stage this year's CEATEC virtually and physically at the convention center it is usually held at in Chiba Prefecture near Tokyo. However, the format was changed in June amid a resurgence of coronavirus cases.
The Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association, one of the organizers, said 314 companies and institutions, including 85 from overseas, applied to be part of the event, and some 150,000 online visitors are expected.
Last year, it attracted over 150,000 people, with 356 firms participating.
Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp. is among the 128 companies participating in CEATEC for the first time. The Japan-based subsidiary of Germany's Daimler AG is showing its eCanter, the world's first electric light-duty truck that went on sale in 2017.